Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite has set his sights firmly on next month's East Asian Cup qualifying matches after getting his first taste of international action in nearly six years last night.
Thwaite played a full 90 minutes as an experimental Socceroos team came from behind to beat South Korea 2-1 in a friendly in Hwaesong.
Versatile central defender Thwaite was played out of his preferred position by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, starting at left-back before switching to a defensive midfield role when debutant Aziz Behich came on in the second half.
Thwaite was subjected to some heavy challenges but performed well and was buoyed by his first appearance for the national team under Osieck.
"It was obviously an amazing experience," he said.
"I really, really want to play at that level again and I was just very thankful for the opportunity.
"It was very difficult opposition as well, especially not playing in my natural positions at left-back and centre midfield. Hopefully Holger was happy with the versatility.
"That's the type of player that he likes, one that can fit into any role.
"There are a lot of good players in the Socceroos squad and it's very hard to get a starting spot, especially in your own position, so any chance that I get I'll definitely take.
"Now there's another opportunity in December in Hong Kong for the East Asian Cup qualifiers, where there's going to be many A-League players and Asia-based players selected."
The Socceroos will take on North Korea, Chinese Taipei, Guam and the host nation in a round-robin competition in Hong Kong from December 1-9.
The group winner will progress to the final tournament in South Korea next year.
Osieck is expected to rely on A-League and Asia-based players for the qualifiers.
"It gives us a boost playing at that level and I think it gives Holger a little bit of a headache for the upcoming games," Thwaite said.He said he pulled up well and will push his claims for a starting berth in Glory's A-League fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Sunday.
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